Step 3: Stay PACED in Your Employment Goals - Byte Back

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Step 3: Stay PACED in Your Employment Goals

Author: Byte Back
Published: August 1, 2016

We’re here to help you set and reach your career goals with our Goal Setting Blog Series.

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Your Career Goals – Step 3: Stay PACED in Your Employment Goals

By Bock Szymkowicz, Career Development Specialist

Not everything always goes as planned in the job search process. Many dilemmas can pop up, including but not limited to:

  • Deciding between different job offers
  • Deciding between a job or furthering your education
  • Relocating for a job

PACED blogWhen confronted with these issues, it’s important not to delay the decision or make an uninformed choice. For example, when people are faced between deciding to further their education or get a job, not taking the proper amount of time to evaluate the choices may mean that you miss out on money in the long term or that you can’t support yourself in the short term. So it’s important to stay properly PACED!

The PACED technique is a quick five-step process (Problem, Alternative, Criteria, Evaluate, Decide) to help you make an informed decision that will strongly benefit you.

Let’s revisit our favorite Byte Back Student, Sally Student, who was recently offered two positions. She’s going to use the PACED technique to decide which job to take:

P: Problem (Define the problem you have.)

For Sally Student, she has been offered two positions, so she needs to decide on which job to take, if any.

A: Alternative (List the choices available.)

Your alternatives are the different choices. For Sally, her alternatives are a nice job with Tech, Inc. in Silver Spring or Tech Co. in Washington, DC. Her third choice is to dismiss both offers and continue her job search.

C: Criteria (Determine the criteria on which you will compare the alternatives.)

Sally determines the main factors she will use are pay, travel, community, and benefits:

Salary Benefits Networks
Job w/ Tech Co. $35,000 Health/Dental Friend, Family, Church
Job w/ Tech, Inc. $45,000 Health/Dental/Training None

Sally could also try and see if another job pops up, but this option is risky, as it took two months to get through these two job interview processes.

NOTE: To better visualize the benefit of the alternatives, you can also rate each criteria from 1-5 (1 being low, 5 being high) to create a numerical value to compare the alternatives. So for instance, Sally may rate a salary of $35000 as a 3 and $45000 as a 5, health/dental as a 4, etc.

E: Evaluate (Review which Alternative best meets your Criteria.)

For Sally, she decides that the job with Tech, Inc. in Silver Spring meets most of her criteria.


Slow and steady wins the race.

D: Decide

Based off the fact she will make more money and be able to train with the company, Sally decides to work with Tech, Inc.


Don’t dismiss an opportunity right off the bat for one criterion, as there may be more benefits to an alternative decision. You can find solutions to those missing areas or criterion. In this case, Sally can see if anyone at her office is willing to carpool to help address her transportation problem. To address her lack of networks within Silver Spring, Sally could see if anyone at her church knows anyone in Silver Spring.

It’s important to consult with your network and get feedback. Your network is a big part of your job search, for feedback and for emotional support, which we will be getting into in the next blog about Staying Motivated during the job search.

Helpful Links to stay PACED: PACED Decision Making Grid, courtesy of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

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